Moomah the Magazine
Melvin’s Juice Box: Smoothies from the Master

Melvin’s Juice Box: Smoothies from the Master

- Tracey Stewart

There are three men that I credit for the success of my first pregnancy: My husband, my gynecologist and Melvin, the Juice Bar Guy. In 2004 I was pregnant for the first time, and for the first time I was motivated to be the best me I could be. I was militant about putting only the healthiest foods into my body, knowing that there was a little dude dining with me 24/7. This is where Melvin came in. 

Melvin held court in the back of a tiny neighborhood health food store in the West Village, serving up the most delicious fresh juices. The line was always long in this cramped space, but everyone always waited happily, knowing their time with Melvin would be worth it. When my little round self would finally reach the front of the line, he'd be waiting there with his gorgeous smile. He'd ask how I was feeling, and tell me how happy I looked, as he’d grab beets, carrots, apples and ginger, and transform them into what tasted like actual life force.

When I became pregnant with my second child, our apartment was no longer big enough and we were forced to leave the West Village, and Melvin, behind. I’d often thought about Melvin, but having two children had suddenly made trips outside of a 5 block radius of my home seem daunting.

Several weeks ago, I got invited to a juicing class that my friend had won at a school auction. I waited for her on the corner of Houston and Sullivan, regreting that I had agreed to indulge myself because my to do list had now reached its third notebook page. We walked towards Sullivan street, and turned into Melvins Juice Box. What? Melvin’s Juice Box??!! There was Melvin! No longer tucked into the back of a tiny shop, his name was on the outside of the building, and inside he stood in all his glory, surrounded by beautiful fruits, vegetables and his juice protégées (all equally as charming and warm).

Apparently 7 years after my last child was born, along with my baby weight, my hormones must have also been lingering. When my eyes met Melvin’s and he smiled back at me, they filled up with tears. The taste of those smoothies now reminded me of how good it felt to attempt to be my healthiest self. Even though those children aren’t dwelling within me, it’s still not a bad idea to make the effort. Yummy Life Force!! Thank you Melvin for showing me what that tastes like.

The Story behind MELVIN'S JUICE BOX

Miss Lily's restaurant is a Caribbean oasis in downtown Manhattan. "The interiors are colorful and cheerful: checkered floors, vinyl booths, and walls decked out with album covers spanning 50 years of Jamaican music history. Reggae, mento, soca and ska beats keep the festive mood rolling helped by the always-friendly staff."

Attached to the restaurant is Miss Lily's Variety - a West Indian record store-themed gallery and boutique. "A major focus of the space is to celebrate and honor the rich and vibrant visual vocabulary of the West Indies with a stellar, borderline-obsessive selection of West Indian-inspired apparel, books, jewelry, and gifts. A rotating program of photography, art, and graphics exhibitions will each spawn associated books, prints, and shirts."

What we love about Miss Lily’s Variety is that a portion of all sales go to the Rockhouse Foundation, a US registered charity that transforms the places where Jamaica’s children learn and supports the people who teach them.

The front of Variety is home to Radio Lily, Miss Lily’s internet radio station. When walking by the space, you can watch as the DJ spins tunes in the window and reinforces the Jamaican vibe.

Finally, there is Miss Lily’s Bake Shop & Melvin’s Juice Box, "a casual, Jamaican patty bakery, juice bar, cafe, and take out annex to the famed Miss Lily’s restaurant." Downtown juicing legend, Melvin Major Jr., is a 20-year veteran of the fresh juice scene, who has a cult following with his amazing juices and always-sunny disposition.

Always smiling, always welcoming, and always feeding customers the best, most fresh juices, Melvin let us come into the Juice Box to get a little lesson on smoothie making.






• 2   green apples
• 1   banana
• 1/2 in. ginger
• 1   lemon
• 6oz.  blueberry
• 4 pc  kale

While we were inside the Juice Box, the tunes from Radio Lily were playing and we just had to ask them for one more favor...

Make your smoothie to a Radio Lily inspired playlist, made just for Moomah by Melvin's Juicebox's Charlotte Mortlock.



Posted in: Recipes: In The Kitchen   

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Recent Comments

Anne said…

I love this article. It’s the way it’s written - it comes from a very personal perspective that radiates real joy. It’s honest. It’s warm. Not only does it make me smile every time I trip over it (& I’ve read it a few times since it was first published), but it inspires me to seek out Melvin when next I’m NYC, just to know what Life Force tastes like.
But the recipe - inches… ounces… what are you doing to me, woman?

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